It was 180 minutes of raw emotion that she will never forget.
When Derry woman Bronagh Breslin decided to run the Waterside Half Marathon this year in memory of her dad, Frankie, she never realised what an emotional and physical rollercoaster she was getting on.
She finishes 2015 having achieved her goal and at the same time raising £2,300 for local charity, Foyle Haven.
Last week an emotional Bronagh visited the centre to hand over the cheque and thank the many staff at the centre who helped to support her daddy as he battled alcoholism.
“If it makes any sense it’s very comforting coming here,” said Bronagh. “I only came here after daddy died. I look around and I see people like him and I know they are getting the help that daddy got.
“I think about that on a day especially like today when it is so cold and wet, and when you come in here there is such a warm atmosphere.
“The support that Foyle Haven offer is phenomenal, I could not do the job that the people here do.”
Bronagh said that all of the donations have been gift aided so she’s hopeful that the final total she has raised will be close to £3,000.
“It has been great coming here today to hand over this money,” she said. “But I would ask people who have a little extra food or some warm clothes to bring them here. Or a little extra money. This place helps so many people.”
Bronagh revealed that in the weeks prior to the Waterside Half Marathon she suffered sickness.
“That morning when I laced up I got really nervous,” she said, “But I made it and I even crossed the finish line half an hour quicker that I had anticipated. I would like to thank Laura McClintock who ran with me. Laura had been injured since July and hadn’t run, but unknown to me she entered the half marathon to keep me company.
“Even more unbelievable is that Laura is a nurse and she had worked the night shift before she did it. She knew how much of an emotional journey it was for me and she just said: ‘We are going to run 13.1 miles for the craic.’
“I couldn’t have done it without her, or without the help of family and friends who supported me all the way around.”
Elaine Carlin, group manager of DePaul which runs Foyle Haven said: “It was incredible when we heard that Bronagh was going to do this for the Foyle Haven.
“We couldn’t believe it, especially when she initially set her target and superseded it.”
She revealed that the money raised by Bronagh will be used for a variety of things at Foyle Haven.
“Obviously for the day to day running of Foyle Haven,” she said. “For service user activities and providing the basics like food for the kitchen. The money Bronagh has raised will be well utilised within the service.”
She revealed that Foyle Haven has now been open in the city for thirteen years providing a vital service.
“There are many different services that DePaul provide within the city,” she said, “There is the drop in day centre which we are probably better known for but however we also have a floating support service. This involves supporting people who are in their own tenancy but still requires support due to their addiction. Staff will visit the individual within their own tenancy and make sure they are safe and well, that their bills are being paid and they have food in their fridge. Our visits are vital ensuring they see a friendly face everyday.”
The Project Group Manager paid tribute to her staff who she said go above and beyond the call of duty.
“It takes a certain type of person to do this type of work,” she said. “Many go that extra mile for their service users. The centre is vitally needed as it is the only drop in centre of its type in the city.
“People can come in here, have a bite to eat, a sleep and have some social interaction. They can sit with their peers and staff. There’s always a warm meal and a friendly face where they are never judged.”